I can't say who has to be careful, since it isn't clear to me from my photo. Does it say the train company in the bottom right corner?

Anyway, the sign says:
× Smoothly and Speedy
Smoothly and Speedily (better)
Smooth and Speedy (best)
When you want to use two words that describe something and connect them with a conjunction, they need to be of the same type.
  • conjunction - 接続詞
The problem here is that "smoothly" is an adverb and "speedy" is an adjective. The hint here is that "ly" usually signifies an adverb, while "y" alone is usually an adjective.

I hope your holiday journeys are smooth and speedy. 



A lot of people raise this question: "What's the difference between 'raise' and 'rise'?"
× In March, the temperature will begin to raise.
◯ In March, the temperature will begin to rise.
You should use "rise" for the thing that is increasing in height.

I took this picture from a bridge near my house.
× You can see that the Tokyo Sky Tree has raised a lot.
◯ You can see that the Tokyo Sky Tree has risen a lot.
You should use "raise" when the subject is doing the action to something else.
× If you want to ask me a question, you don't have to rise your hand; just send me email!
◯ If you want to ask me a question, you don't have to raise your hand; just send me email!


私は日本語の使い方に注意した方が良い。(part 4) スペルミスについて

Someone kindly pointed out to me that the headline of my last blog post had a spelling mistake.
  • spelling mistake スペルミス
  • ×  レソトラン
  • ◯ レストラン
Spelling correctly is tough in any language. English spelling is particularly tricky since spelling sometimes seems not to match pronunciation.
  • pronunciation 発音
Fortunately, when typing Japanese, the input method will check it. Unfortunately, I just directly converted hiragana into katakana without letting the input method check it. That was my mistake.

Anyway, I am always grateful when someone shows me where I've gone wrong.

While I am talking about recent feedback, someone else said that I hadn't posted any pictures of what I have been cooking. 
  • × Here are two currys that I made the other day: chick pea curry and spinach curry. 
  • ◯ Here are two curries that I made the other day: chick pea curry and spinach curry.
It's a common mistake to forget to change "y" to "ies" when making a plural noun.



This curry restaurant in Osaka ought to be careful about their English. Their menu says:
× Arfy Two Curry of your Choice
◯ ??? (Probably, they want to say "Two curries of your choice"'
I am always complaining about English mistakes I see in public. Actually, many times its not such a big deal.
  • a big deal 大したこと
The purpose of language is communication. If I can understand the meaning, then at least the basic goal has been reached.
  •  reach a specific goal 具体的{ぐたい てき}な目的{もくてき}[目標{もくひょう}]を実現{じつげん}する (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
However, if I can't guess the meaning, then communication hasn't happened. In that case, the use of English has failed. That's what is happening here, with the word "arfy". Does anyone have a guess as to what they mean?

I'll bring you another blog post later this week.



Somebody came to class with this notebook, which says:
× Knowledge is proud that he has learned so much ; wisdom is humble that he knows no more.
Knowledge means being proud of having learned so much; wisdom means being humble about what one doesn't know. <- maybe, as I'm not exactly sure what they wanted to say.
  • knowledge 知識 
  • wisdom 知恵
  • humble 謙遜 (definitions from edict)
Notice that the semicolon was used incorrectly. In English, there is usually no space in front of punctuation. Be careful!
Worse than the semicolon, though, is the fact that I can't even be sure what their sentence means! It took me several reads to guess the meaning.

There's a lot that I don't know, and I have to be humble about my weak Japanese skills. Manufacturers and business people need to be humble about their English abilities. Don't sell a product with English on it without having someone who has a lot of knowledge of English check it! For me, that is wisdom.



I've been told:
× You always claim about wrong English.
◯ You always complain about wrong English.
  1. 〔証拠なしに~が本当であると〕主張{しゅちょう}する、言い張る、断言する
  2. 〔当然のこととして~を〕要求{ようきゅう}[請求{せいきゅう}]する、求める
  3. 〔~の所有権を〕主張{しゅちょう}する
  4. 〔命を〕奪う
  5. 〈主に英〉〔賞品などを〕獲得する
  6. 〈主に英〉〔人の注意を〕引く
complain 【自動】
  1. 不満{ふまん}[苦情{くじょう}・不平{ふへい}]を言う[漏らす]、文句{もんく}を言う、愚痴{ぐち}を言う[こぼす]
  2. 〔病状{びょうじょう}や痛みを〕訴える、言う
  3. 〔苦情{くじょう}でも言うかのように〕うめく、きしみ音を出す
  4. 〔正式{せいしき}な機関{きかん}に〕苦情{くじょう}を申し立てる、訴え出る、クレームを付ける
  5. 〔コンピュータやソフトウェアが〕エラーを出す、言うことを聞かない
Well, I cannot claim that my Japanese is perfect, and I don't expect Japanese to have perfect English, either. However, if you are a big business and try to use English, you should make the effort to let a native speaker check your English for mistakes.

"Complain" is used when talking about something you are not happy about. That means that English doesn't have the word クレーマ. In English, you'd have to say "someone who made a complaint".
  • complaint 文句 (definition from jmdict)
I can't claim it is good, but I was awake the other day at 5 am. I can't complain about being up at that time, either, because I was able to see the reflection of the sunrise on the office towers around Tokyo Station. It was beautiful, I thought.


Today's content might be controversial. Get ready. I want to talk about "appeal" and "claim".

  • controversy 論, 繋争, 争論, 論争 (definition from jmdict)
These words are often confused by Japanese, mostly because they have been adopted into Japanese with meanings which are slightly different from their English meanings.

Someone told me:
× Chinese appeal their country is a developed one.
◯ Chinese claim their country is a developed one.
We can say:
× Chinese claim about Japanese policy.
◯ Chinese complain about Japanese policy.

× Taiwanese claim to the world to recognize them as a country.
◯ Taiwanese appeal to the world to recognize them as a country.
◯ Taiwanese claim they are an independent country, but China disagrees.
Here are the definitions of "appeal" and "claim" from Eijiro on the Web; check their site for the examples:

  1. 注意{ちゅうい}を喚起{かんき}する
  2. 援助{えんじょ}を求める、懇願{こんがん}する、訴える、要請{ようせい}する、頼む
  3. 気に入る、興味{きょうみ}をそそる、魅力{みりょく}がある
  4. 上訴{じょうそ}する、抗告{こうこく}する
  5. 抗議{こうぎ}する
  1. 〔証拠なしに~が本当であると〕主張{しゅちょう}する、言い張る、断言する
  2. 〔当然のこととして~を〕要求{ようきゅう}[請求{せいきゅう}]する、求める
  3. 〔~の所有権を〕主張{しゅちょう}する
  4. 〔命を〕奪う
  5. 〈主に英〉〔賞品などを〕獲得する
  6. 〈主に英〉〔人の注意を〕引く
I talked about "appeal" back in January. Check this post:
I took this photo last night at a performance of my friend's band. The name of the band is ギロチン工場. I'd like to appeal to you to catch one of their performances if you are into noise rock. I cannot claim that this is a good photo, but it's the best my phone could do.

Somehow I've never talked about "claim", though! OK, there's the next post.



Somebody the other day said:
× Soooooooooo cute kid!!!
Such a cuuuuuuuuuuuute kid!
Sooooooooooo cute!
Remember, the pattern is:
  • so + (adj)
  • such + (adj) + (n)
This was the subject of my post back on July 16 of last year:
In May of last year I talked about going to a Ryoji Ikeda exhibition:
This past Friday, I had the chance to see him perform live.
× It was soooooooo good performance!
◯ It was such a gooooooood performance!
◯ The performance was sooooooooo goooooood!
He performed with Carsten Nicolai as well. That concert was probably the best one I've been to in five years. The visuals were so well-designed! I had such a good time.

Here's some more information on Ryoji Ikeda. You should check out his work:


EL-THANK JAPONは英語の使い方に注意して方が良い+「arrive」の使い方

I was doing some shopping at the supermarket this evening. Walking down the aisle with cereal, I saw this package.
  • aisle - 通路
  • cereal - シリアル
× organic cereal arrived from France
◯ organic cereal from France
Using "arrived" here is strange. "Arrived" emphasizes that someone has traveled or something has been sent. The important point here is the origin (生産国) of the cereal, not the fact that it has traveled.

We don't know who sent it, either. Good cases for using "arrive" include:
  • What time did you arrive?
  • A: When will this package arrive? B: It will arrive in about two weeks.
Of course, we do care when this cereal arrived because we want it to be fresh. However, for this kind of product, I usually leave it to the supermarket to watch that.
  • leave it to (人)に任せる、~に委ねる (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
After searching for English materials on the net, I'm glad you have arrived at our blog. Another post is coming soon!


「go on」について

"Doesn't 'go on' mean continue?" somebody asked me. This person had read my post from a few days ago about "go to" and "go on".


"Sure! 'Go on' has both meanings," I said.

"Go on" as a verb meaning "continue" can take an activity as an object.
  • I will go on posting pictures of English mistakes when I find them.
  • Even if you make mistakes, I hope you'll go on studying.
It doesn't always use an object, though. There was a typhoon on Saturday.
  • Someone told me that her daughter's school festival went on despite the typhoon.
Right now, there's a box of chocolate sitting next to me. They're delicious, so I might go on eating them if I don't put the box away. I supposed I had better put them away.



Back in September, I went to Naeba. Along the road, there were some beautiful cosmos. I stopped and snapped this photo.
  • snap photos of ~の写真{しゃしん}を撮る ) (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
Last week, someone asked me:
× Is cosmos in America?
Are there cosmos in America?
When you are talking about the existence of an item or category of items, use "there".
  • existence 実在, 有無, 存亡, 存在, 存廃, 生命, 実存, 生存, 存立 (definitions from jmdict)
Use it with a "be" verb.

Wikipedia says that cosmos are native to the Americas, so yes, there are cosmos in America.
It also says there are 20 to 26 different species of cosmos.
× I wonder what kind there are in this photo?
◯ I wonder what kind these in the photo are?
Don't use "there" when you are talking about specific ones, like in the sentence above. Maybe these are cosmos bipinnatus, from looking at the photos in Wikipedia. After tomorrow's typhoon, there might not be any more cosmos left until the next time they are in season.


ecocoloという雑誌は英語の使い方に注意した方が良い+「go to」と「go on」の違い

Flipping through Ecocolo magazine at a convenience store, I came across this headline.
× Let's go to a small trip!
◯ Let's go on a short trip!
"Go to" is followed by your destination.
  • destination 目的地
"Go on" is followed by a travel-related activity, like "go on a hike", "go on a picnic", "go on a shopping spree", or "go on tour".
  • shopping spree 買い物をしまくること、買い物好き、買物熱、湯水のような金遣い (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
"Small" is used for the physical size of things. "Short" is used for time.

I'm planning to go on a short trip this month, and I might go to Malaysia early next year. Does anyone have any tips on Kuala Lumpur?



I was at Bic Camera the other day to pick up some things that I needed. When I was standing in line at the cash register, I noticed this display. If I understand correctly, it's for a stylish new toothbrush!
  •  So if I understand you correctly, ... では、君の言うことを私が正しく理解しているとすれば... (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
Maybe the world needs stylish toothbrushes, though I'm fine with a 100 yen tooth brush. I think it's a mostly useless product. What's worse, the amazingly horrible name they've chosen is "Doltz".

As far as I can tell, it doesn't have any meaning in German, French, Spanish, or Russian. That basically leaves English. The "z" can be interpreted as a really casual way to express "s", like a plural noun. In English, a "dolt" is an "idiot", a "fool", a "stupid person". Here's the definition according to Eijiro on the Web:
  • dolt 【名】〈俗・軽蔑的〉ばか、間抜け
This is a mistake that really lacks a good excuse. Junk World has a good excuse; they're just a small second-hand retailer. Panasonic, though, is a big international company! I'm not sure if you are dolt if you buy one, but they've got to be dolts for not asking one of the native English speakers on their staff if this name was a good choice or not.



The sunset earlier this week was beautiful! Take a look at that!
  • × It's getting autumn, so the sunsets are getting more beautiful.
  • ◯ It's becoming autumn, so the sunsets are getting more beautiful.
It's true that "get" has the same meaning as "become", but it must be used with an adjective. It can't be used with a noun.
◯ Since it's becoming cooler, I feel it's more comfortable.
◯ Since it's getting cooler, I feel it's more comfortable.
"Cooler" is an adjective, so both of these are OK, just like "more beautiful" in the first example.

× As I get more comfortable, I am also getting a more productive worker. <- "worker" is a noun
◯ As I get more comfortable, I am also becoming a more productive worker.

I hope that I can bring you more blog posts this month than last month.



Someone was asking about the difference between "benefit" and "profit". There are always mistakes.
benefit 【名】(definition from Eijiro on the Web)
  1. 便益{べんえき}、恩恵{おんけい}、利益{りえき}[ため]になること
  2. 援助{えんじょ}、手助け{てだすけ}
  3. 〔金銭的{きんせん てき}〕利益{りえき}、利得{りとく}
  4. 〔社会福祉の〕給付金{きゅうふきん}、福祉手当{ふくし てあて}、扶助金{ふじょきん}◆通例benefits
  5. 慈善{じぜん}[募金{ぼきん
profit 【名】(definition from Eijiro on the Web)
    利益{りえき}、収益{しゅうえき}、利潤{りじゅん}、得 ・100,000 yen profit : 10万円の利益。
Consider the case of a company which has just begun producing a new product. The sales of the product are going very well, and the company management is very happy. That's because:
× The company got a lot of benefit from the new product. <- this is roughly true, but the real reason...
◯ The company made a big profit from the new product. <- ...is that they earned a lot of money!
"Benefit" is used for good things of any type.
  • You benefit a lot from studying English.
"Profit" is most commonly used to talk about the money earned by a company.
  • Profits of companies during the bubble were good, but some companies are having trouble making profits today.
Both of these words can also be used as verbs.

I wonder about the profits of JunkWorld, a computer reseller I saw on Nakano Broadway. I'm not sure if they profit from selling used computers, but they would definitely benefit from changing their name.

That's because "junk" is another word for "garbage". New computers are getting really cheap, so I don't know why anyone would be interested in buying junk. The definition below does include "second-hand goods", but the only second-hand goods that can be called "junk" are the ones that are basically garbage.
junk 【1名】(definition from Eijiro on the Web)
  1. くず、がらくた、廃品{はいひん}、中古品{ちゅうこひん}
  2. ジャンクメール
  3. salt junk
  4. 〈話〉ばかげた話、ナンセンス
    ・What a load of junk! : ばかなことばっかり言って!
I'm sure you would benefit by buying a new computer rather than a piece of junk from JunkWorld. Unfortunately, that will deprive them of their profits.
  • deprivation 奪う、取り上げる、剥奪{はくだつ}する◆【類】strip ; divest ; take away (defintion from Eijiro on the Web)



Two Sundays ago, I could relax really well.
~That's because I went to an onsen. <- "Onsen" is Japanese
◯ That's because I went to a hot spring. <- "hot spring" is English, and America even has some!
The hot spring was a new one in Musashi-koyama. It had two kinds of water, one of which was kind of beige. Someone told me:
× Kanto area hot spring have brown color.
◯ Hot springs in the Kanto area have brown water.
As for the best verb to use with hot springs, it's a bit hard because Americans don't have the habit of enjoying hot springs. We could say:
~I soaked in the hot spring. <- people will understand, but...
◯ I bathed in the hot spring. <- this is probably better.
There are some interesting facts about hot springs here:
Even more interesting is this page on the therapeutic uses of hot springs:
  • therapeutic 【形】治療法{ちりょうほう}の、治療(上){ちりょう(じょう)}の、療法{りょうほう}の、癒やす力のある、癒やし系の、心の健康{けんこう}に良い◆「心を癒やす」という意味と、精神医学的な「セラピー治療の」という意味の両方がある (definition from Eijiro on the Web)



Someone gave me a snack from Morinaga. It's called "Nudear", and it's a kind of chocolate cookie or round brownie.
  •  brownie 【名】
  1. ブラウニー◆チョコレート入りケーキ。味が濃くナッツが入っている。(definition from Eijiro on the Web)
Here's a page with the commercial for Nudear.
When you open the box, there's an explanation of the name on the inside. It says:
  • ありのままの私 (×nude) を大切に(dear)
The problem is that ありのままの私 doesn't mean "nude" in regular spoken English. It means "just as I am".
  • You always accept me just as I am.
  • I woke up late, so I had to go to work just as I was, without a shower or even my suit.
They should check out Billy Joel's old hit, "Just the Way You Are".
If I went to work nude, wow! People would be so shocked! Here's the most common meaning of "nude":
  • nude (adj) 裸の、むきだしの、衣類{いるい}をつけていない、裸体{らたい}の、ヌードが登場{とうじょう}する (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
Morinaga is a big company! They make great almond pudding.
  • almond pudding (or almond tofu, almond jelly) - 杏仁豆腐
Any company of their stature ought to be able to afford to check marketing material with a native speaker, rather than teach everyone wrong English.
  • of this stature
    これほど(素晴{すば}らしい)才能{さいのう}を持つ (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
If you know anyone working there, you can suggest that they check my blog.



I wrote about "difference" the other day. Take a look at that post for review:


Over the weekend, I visited Niigata. The cooler weather was really pleasant.
× There's a big difference with Tokyo and towns in the mountains.
◯ There's a big difference between Tokyo and towns in the mountains.
When you use "difference", don't forget this pattern:
  • difference between _(n)_ and _(n)_
In Naeba, there wasn't a Seven Eleven or Family Mart, and there were far fewer vending machines. That was a bit inconvenient.
  • vending machine〔飲料{いんりょう}などの〕自動販売機{じどう はんばいき}(definition from Eijiro on the Web)
That's not the only thing, though. There's also a difference between the air in Tokyo and the air there. The air in the mountains was clean and had the wonderful smell of plants. The air in Tokyo is mostly fumes from buses, taxis, and smokers.
  • vehicle fumes 車両{しゃりょう}の噴煙{ふんえん}[排(出)ガス](definition from Eijiro on the Web)
Despite that, I think I prefer the convenience of the city. Still, it was nice to escape for a few days.


私は日本語の使い方に注意した方が良い。(part 3)

I forgot the particles in my headline the other day: に and が.
  • 助詞 particle
It was my post about good food in Singapore, like the vegetarian masala noodles in this picture. Take a look:
I always appreciate people pointing out my mistakes. Otherwise, I'm wandering around in the dark.
in the dark
1. 暗やみの中で、見えない状況{じょうきょう}で
2. 見当{けんとう}がつかないで、(何も)知らずに、秘密{ひみつ}に ...I'm completely in the dark about ~. : ~のことは皆目見当がつかない。(definitions and example from Eijiro on the Web)
Learning another language takes years! That means it takes patience and a thick skin, too!
  • take ~を要する、必要{ひつよう}とする (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
  • have a thick skin〔批評{ひひょう}などに対して〕神経{しんけい}がずぶとい、鈍感{どんかん}である
Me forgetting particles is like many people in Japan forgetting articles.
× When I am watching movie at home, the phone may ring.
◯ When I am watching a movie at home, the phone may ring.
× One of TVs doesn't work well.
◯ One of the TVs doesn't work well.
Think of these mistakes like noise in your English:
Don't hesitate to point out my mistakes, because I'm sure I make a lot of them, and please, develop a thick skin!



I'm out! 
  • be out of something ~がなくなって、~を切らしていて、~が切れて、~を失って
    We're out of sugar. : 砂糖を切らしている。(definition and example from Eijiro on the Web)
This is a really delicious paste that I picked up in Okubo at a small import food shop. It has a strong flavor and can turn a dish red. I've made curry and soup with it. I'm still not an expert on Indian food, but I think the flavor is South Indian.
× It is different to Japanese curry roux.
◯ It is different from Japanese curry roux. <- "Different" is an adjective.
  •  curry roux 《料理》カレーのルー (definition from Eijiro on the Web) <- note, the pronunciation of "roux" is the same as in Japanese
× There is difference from Japanese curry roux.
◯ There is a difference between Japanese curry roux and this masala paste. <- "difference" is a noun, so "a" is necessary

◯ Japanese curry roux differs from this curry paste. <- too formal! Don't say this! "Differ" is a verb. 
However, now I have to get another jar of it, so that means a trip to Okubo.

Here's the website of the company that makes it.
There are some different pastes on that site; maybe this time I'll look for the biryani paste, too!


Sorry about last month!

Last month I couldn't manage to do as many blog posts as usual.
  • manage to  何とか~する (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
That's partly due to my trip to Singapore.
  •  due to ~が原因{げんいん}で、~に起因{きいん}して、~のせいで、~によって、~の理由{りゆう}から、~のおかげで、~のため、~の故に、~の結果{けっか}、~という要因{よういん}を背景{はいけい}として (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
It's also owing to my catching a cold on my return to Tokyo.
  • owing to ~のおかげで, ~のせいで (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
In the end, I think the heat had a role to play as well.
  • play a role in causing

    ~を引き起こす一因{いちいん}となる、〔疾患{しっかん}など〕の発現{はつげん}[発症{はっしょう}]にかかわる (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
Summer is hard for me, and I bet it is hard for many of you all, too.

Air conditioning is said by many to be no good for our health. However, sometimes I feel I need to be in a building like this one I saw in Singapore. Look at all of those air conditioners! I didn't go in; I wonder how freezing it is inside.

This month I'm going to do my best to bring you a lot of posts, though. Wish me luck!



Singapore is a great place to eat Indian food. Though the majority of the population in Chinese, there's a large number of Indians as well.
  • the majority of the population 人口の大半 (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
This restaurant has an interesting concept. It's a kind of charity.
  • charity 施し,慈善,博愛,善根,仁恵,仁愛,慈悲,篤志 (definition from jmdict)
There are no prices on the menu. People just pay what they feel they can or should pay. Someone who is down on their luck can pay 50 yen. Another person who isn't having trouble making ends meet might pay 500 yen. Both of them could eat the same meal.
  • down on one's luck 運が傾いて、つきに見放されて (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
  • make ends meet 生活の収支を合わせる、収入の範囲内でやりくりする[やっていく] (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
My host felt that 200 yen was appropriate. That sounds great for people in Tokyo, right?

So, what's in the photo? On the plate, there's rice mixed with lentil curry. Next to the plate, there are three vegetable curries, each of which had a very different flavor. This was a south Indian meal.
  • lentil レンズ豆
Because of all of the great food I ate in Singapore, I gained 2 kgs!
  • gain weight 重さ[重量・体重・目方]が増える[増加する]、太る◆【反】lose weight



I guess I caught a cold on the plane on the way back from Singapore, because last night I had a fever and a sore throat. I took it easy all day today and took Chinese medicine. Now I'm feeling much better, and hopefully tomorrow I'll be back to normal.

Singapore is a really interesting place. English is an official language, and a lot of people speak it really well. However, I could still find mistakes like this one at Mustafa, a 24-hour discount store in Little India:
× please put back after trythanks
◯ Please put them back after trying them on. Thanks!
Spaces between words and punctuation are basic rules. Nothing more needs to be said.

"Put back" needs an object. Because the simplest object in this case is "them", which is a pronoun, we should put it between the two parts of this phrasal verb.
  • phrasal verb 句動詞 (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
The last point is about using "after". It can be a preposition or a conjunction. My correction uses it as a preposition. A preposition must be followed by a noun, so we need to use "ing" with the verb.

On top of that, we usually don't "try" clothing or shoes. We "try it on". <- "try on" is another phrasal verb
  • try on 試着する、着てみる、履いてみる  (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
When I'm back to 100%, I'll show you the delicious stuff I could eat in Singapore.


恵比寿駅は英語の使い方に注意した方が良い。「because」と「because of」の使い方

As a blogger talking about English, I like Ebisu Station because I can consistently find English mistakes there.

The sign says:
× The restroom cannot be used because of under construction.
◯ The restroom cannot be used because it is under construction.
  • under construction 建築{けんちく}[建設{けんせつ}・建造{けんぞう}]中で (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
"Because of" is a phrase ending in a preposition. Because "of" is a preposistion, you need to follow it with a noun.
  • Because of their English mistakes, I have something to blog about. <- "mistakes" is a noun
"Because" is a conjunction. It should be used to connect two sentences.
  • Because they made an English mistake, I have something to blog about. <- "they" is the subject, "made" is the verb
Because the restroom at Ebisu Station is currently closed, you will probably have to go into the department store above the station to find one. Some people are likely to be inconvenienced because of this construction.

Because "because" can be used in two ways, be careful!


「~によって」は英語でどう言う?「depend on」の使い方

A few weeks ago, somebody was telling me about Japanese pickles. They told me:
× The flavor is different by each prefecture.
◯ The flavor is different in each prefecture.
◯ The flavor differs according to the prefecture.
◯ The flavor depends on the prefecture.
  • depend on ~によって決まる、~次第{しだい}である
That last pattern is really useful! Take a look:
  • _(n/noun phrase)_ depends on _(n/noun phrase)_
You probably know I like chocolate by reading my blog, which has posts like this one:
This is some dark chocolate that I was eating the other day. It's a bit sweeter than I like, but the flavor was really rich.
  • rich flavor 《a ~》豊かな風味 (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
Dark chocolate is one of my favorite things to eat. I should learn more about why dark chocolates can taste so different. What factors does the flavor depend on?
  • factor 因子, ファクター, 因 (definition from jmdict)
If I were a rich man, I'd sample a different kind of dark chocolate every day. Right now, the kinds of chocolate I eat depend on what people give me. I seldom have the time to wander around the basement of a department store sampling chocolate. Some day...



This shop really needs help with their English (I'm not sure, but I might need help with my Japanese in today's headline).
× Suit Get! Fair
"Get a Suit" Sale!
First, for fairness, let me compliment them on their use of "suit" and not "suits". Good job! The explanation of "suits" can be found at this old post, which happens to be about the same shop:
Remember English word order. In almost every case, the subject comes before the verb. That means their suit is getting something, but suits don't usually get anything, except:
First, my suit got stained.
Then my suit got torn.
After that, it got repaired by a tailor.
When it was too old, it got thrown away.
Their next mistake is using "get" with an exclamation point in the middle of the phrase. I talked about this punctuation mistake, which is so common in Japan, in this old post:
Finally, Japanese retailers love to talk about "fairs" and "festas", but really, if you are selling stuff, what's wrong with sticking with "sale"? If I am looking for a good deal, I don't go to a "fair" -- I go to a sale.

  • fair カーニバル (definition from Eijiro on the Web)... I know there are other definitions, but I promise you that the feeling is like The World's Fair: http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/国際博覧会
  • 祝祭 [しゅくさい] (n) festivals feasts <- do you say this in Japanese? A festival, like a fair, sounds like a really big gathering in a town, not an event at a shop.
  • stick with 【句動】~にくっついて離れない、~とずっと一緒{いっしょ}にいる、~のそばを離れない、~を手放{てばな}さない、~を堅持{けんじ}する、~を続ける、~にあくまでも忠実{ちゅうじつ}である、~にこだわる、~の一点張りで通す (defintion from Eijiro on the Web)
  • a good deal 安い買い物 (defintion from Eijiro on the Web)
With luck, their sale will work anyway, and they will make enough money to be able to hire someone to help them with their English in the future.



On Monday night, I cooked this fried rice and bean curry. I was planning on taking a picture of it before I started eating, but because I was hungry, I forgot.
It wasn't until I had eaten a lot that I remembered my intention.
Notice the past perfect in the sentence above. "Eating" was finished when I remembered. That "eating" action had an important result, which is that the food was gone before I could take a picture. Those are the two reasons to use past perfect tense.
  1. the action is finished before an important past time
  2. that action has a result that is important at the important past time
Last summer I wrote about past perfect. You can review the series I wrote here:
The curry tasted much better today. The flavor was deeper and more savory. However, I made such a big pot that I'll be eating bean curry again tomorrow.
If I hadn't made such a big pot, I wouldn't have to eat it again tomorrow.
  • savory 香ばしい・芳しい・セボリー (definition from jmdict)
There's past perfect again. This time, it's a "third conditional" sentence. I wrote about them last summer, too. Review here:


「enjoy」の使い方、part 2

A lot of people come to our blog looking for "enjoy 使い方". That's what Google tells me about people's searches that lead to our blog.

After "enjoy", use a noun or a verb+ing.
× You know I enjoy to find English mistakes in public.
◯ You know I enjoy finding English mistakes in public.
Lucky for them, we have had some posts about it. Check out these posts from the past.
I enjoyed looking at these flowers. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.



I was out walking around on the holiday. Hot, wasn't it?
× I passed a suits shop. <- don't use a plural noun as an adjective
◯ I passed a suit shop.
It's no wonder this shop needs to advertise suits. Who wants to buy a suit when it's 35 degrees outside?

However, this shop needs help. Not only does their graphic design leave a LOT to be desired, it's spelled wrong!
× Laday's suit (wrong spelling, shouldn't be singular)
Ladies' suits (so-so?)
◯ Women's suits (better, maybe)
  • leave ~ to be desired どこか物足りない、不十分な点がある◆【直訳】何か望まれるものを残している The results left a lot to be desired. : あまり望ましくない結果が出た。(definition from Eijiro on the Web)
I wrote about apostrophes a few months ago. Now's a good time to review:
× You won't catch me wearing a suits in this weather. <-「suits」は日本語英語
◯ You won't catch me wearing a suit in this weather.
In fact, you'd be lucky to catch me in a suit in any weather. Take care in the heat!


「take out」と「take down」の違いはなんですか?

You may or may not recognize this door.

This is the door of my neighbors who seemed to really love New Years. I wrote about them twice before.
They put up a wreath at New Years, and it stayed up until last week.
× That's when it was taken out.
~That's when it was taken off (the door).
◯ That's when it was taken down. (best)
  • 外す * pitch away《野球》take off(人を勤務から / 体から衣服・帽子・靴・メガネ・指輪などを / 料理をメニューから / 計画・予定・名簿から~を)〔【反】put on〕(definition from Eijiro on the Web)
  • take down【句動】1. 〔上にある物を〕下げる、降ろす 2. 〔結った髪を〕ほどく (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
Now it seems that they have moved away. In place of the New Year's wreath, there's nothing but a temporary lock.

I had gotten used to seeing that wreath on the door. Now, when I take out the garbage late at night, I only see this lock.
  • Take out the garbage.(生)ごみを出しなさい。(definition from Eijiro on the Web)
These two phrasal verbs have a lot of other meanings. Take a look at Eijiro for more:



On Sunday, I stopped by Uniqlo in Ginza. It was crowded everywhere in Ginza, and Uniqlo may have been doing better business than anywhere else.
  • crowded 稠密 過密 濃密 満員 (definition from jmdict)
Of course, since I was in Ginza, I was doing something glamourous: shopping for underwear. While looking around, I found this sign:
× Men's line up will be in the next building.
◯ The men's line-up (lineup) is in the next building.
  • glamour 魅力 蠱惑 グラマー (definition from jmdict)
  • lineup ラインナップ 布陣 (definition from jmdict)
The first problem they have is the missing "the". "The" is necessary because we know which "men's line-up" -- it's the Uniqlo men's line-up. When your audience knows which one you mean, use "the".
  • audience 会集 観客 会見 会衆 看客 入り 引見 オーディエンス 聴衆 傍聴人 聞き手 (definition from jmdict)
The second problem Uniqlo has is "line-up". "Line up" is a phrasal verb, which means to get in line or to queue. It's possible to turn many phrasal verbs like this into nouns by adding a hyphen. Some of the more common ones have even become nouns without hyphens, like "lineup".

For me, the third problem is the biggest one. When you use "will", it generally has one of two meanings:
a) you have just decided on some future action
b) you are making a prediction about the future
  • prediction 予言 予断 予測 予知 予報 予想 (definition from jmdict)
If they have made a sign, they can't be deciding right now. It's also strange for Uniqlo to make a prediction about something like the location of their men's section.

There's a special case, which is probably which caused them to make this mistake. Some native speakers have conversations like this:
A: Excuse me, where's the toilet?
B: Oh, it will be just down the hall and on your right.
Native speakers do this, and probably most people don't feel it's strange. However, it's definitely only for conversations, and I don't recommend it to any of you. You and Bさん should say "it is just down the hall on your right."

If you have any connections at Uniqlo, you should let them know. If they are trying to become an international company, they should avoid making English mistakes, especially at their flagship store.
  • flagship store 主力店舗 (definition from Eijiro on the Web)



I arrived home this evening close to 11 pm, and I started to eat shortly after that. Now I've finished eating dinner, including these green soybeans.
  • 枝豆 green soybeans (definition from jmdict)
× As I was going to home, it started to sprinkle.
◯ As I was going home, it started to sprinkle. <- "home" is a special case
  • sprinkle 少量、わずか、小雨(definition from Eijiro on the Web)
A little bit of rain is actually comfortable. A lot is not.
× On Monday, as I was going work, it started pouring. <- sorry, but "work" isn't like "home" above
◯ On Monday, as I was going to work, it started pouring. 
When I got to class, I was kind of wet.
  • kind of ある程度{ていど}、やや、多少{たしょう}、 ちょっと、なんだか、いくらか、まあまあ、幾分{いくぶん}、どちらかといえば、いわば、まあ、大 体{だいたい}~といえる、~とか、あれでも~の◆断定を避けるため、表現を和らげるために使う。(from Eijiro on the Web)
× Rainy season isn't over yet, so don't forget your umbrella when you go to somewhere.
◯ Rainy season isn't over yet, so don't forget your umbrella when you go somewhere. <- "somewhere" is like "home" above; don't use "to"



Last week I went to Roppongi to meet friends visiting from Singapore at their hotel.

Late at night on the way home, I rode my bicycle through Ginza. There were a lot of people along the west side of Chuo Avenue, and I wondered why they were waiting there so late at night.
× Curious, I stopped and asked to some men at the end of the line.
◯ Curious, I stopped and asked some men at the end of the line.
"The new iPhone is coming out!" they told me.

Now that some problems have been revealed with the iPhone 4, I wonder how they feel. One problem is the antenna:
  • antenna 触角, 空中線, アンテナ (definition from jmdict)
You probably know I'm not a big Apple fan; I much prefer my Android phone, especially considering the terrible service I got at the Apple store.

I hope you were at home resting rather than in a long line for a phone with problems.


私は日本語の使い方に注意した方が良い。(part 2)

I've gotten some good advice about my posts recently. A few people pointed out mistakes in one of my Japanese dictionaries which I should have caught.

Back on June 16th, I was talking about the muggy weather.
In that post, I talked about the words "survive" and "evaporate", both of which are verbs. The Japanese definitions from jmdict, though, were nouns. Oops!

These definitions were suggested to me:
  • survive - 生き残る
  • evaporate (in the case of sweat) - 蒸発する
Another point was about my post on June 22nd. I was talking about the hot weather again.
I said:
I know some people avoid using the air conditioner at all costs.
Someone suggested to me that, in this case, the best for definition for "at all costs" is 何があっても or 何としても.

It's always great to get your advice! Thank you so much!



Hey! I don't work at the cafe. I'm not in charge! I can't close the cafe. Only the employees can do that.
  • Who will be in charge?
    誰が責任者になる? (from Eijiro on the Web)

That's what this sign means. It's an imperative sentence, asking me to close the cafe.
× Close now.
◯ Sorry, we're closed. Please come again.
  • imperative sentence
    無条件完結文、命令文{めいれいぶん}(from Eijiro on the Web)
If you don't use a subject and start directly with a verb, it sounds like an order.
Study this blog post carefully! <- this is an order
Starbucks may be expensive, but it has two things going for it: no smoking and (mostly) correct English!
  • have ~ going for someone

スポーツ・グラフィック ナンバー題名について

I recently saw this title on the cover of sports graphic number. Japan had beaten Cameroon 1-0 earlier in the week. In the last World Cup game Japan lost 1-0 to a powerful Dutch team and on Friday morning Japan is playing Denmark. All Japan needs to do is draw the match. So far Okada has come up with a good strategy in the last two games. I hope the team plays well on Friday. Go Samurai blue!!!

I also wanted to mention the good use of English on the cover. As a reaction to something or someone's actions we can use the following two expressions: What (noun) e.g. What a miracle! or How (adjective) e.g. How beautiful they played! Note the exclamation at the end so be sure to sound excited.

Also note the structure of the sentence:
What (noun) (subject) (verb) ~~ What a handsome man Cristiano Ronaldo is!
How (adjective) (subject) (verb) ~~ How delicious dinner looks!



Yesterday was the summer solstice. Summer is here.
  • summer solstice《the ~》夏至{げし}(definition from Eijiro on the Web)
The temperatures matched the season, and it was necessary to turn on the air conditioner.

What temperature do you set the AC at? Right now, I have the thermostat set at 26 degrees. In the late evening, I'll try to turn off the AC and open the window.
  • thermostat 温度自動調節器{おん ど じどう ちょうせつき}、サーモスタット
I know some people avoid using the air conditioner at all costs.
  •  at all costs 費用{ひよう}がいくらかかっても、いかなる代価{だ いか}[代償{だいしょう}・犠牲{ぎせ い}]を払っても、ぜひとも (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
I can understand why. First, it's expensive to run it. I never like to see the electricity bill after a month of air conditioning. On top of that, people say it's not really comfortable. I suppose I can understand that sometimes, too. However, a room full of hot and sticky air isn't so comfortable either.

I've heard that Karuizawa is a good place to escape the heat, but after all, my life is in Tokyo. I can't escape Tokyo for four months, so I had better just find good ways to cope with the heat.
  • cope with
    1. 〔困難{こんなん}・問題{もんだい}など〕に立ち向かう
      ・They coped with the onslaught. : 彼らはその襲撃を切り抜けた。
    1. 〔嫌なこと・状況など〕に耐える (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
I just imagine that since yesterday was the longest day of the year, the days will be getting shorter. Since I'm getting older, time seems to pass faster. The benefit, I suppose, is that fall will be here before I know it.
  • before I know it あっという間に、思わず
I hope you all are drinking enough water. Don't pass out from heat stroke!
  • pass out 意識{いしき}を失う、気絶{きぜつ}[卒 倒{そっとう}]する It was so hot that I was afraid I would pass out if I worked outside. : とても暑かったので、外で作業をしたら倒れないかと心配だった。(definition and example from Eijiro on the Web)
  • heat stroke 熱射病{ねっしゃびょう}(definition from Eijiro on the Web)


Go Samurai Blue!!!

Unless you have been hibernating for the last week or are suffering from amnesia, you know that the Japan national soccer team eked out a win against Cameroon earlier this week.

It was the first World Cup victory for the Japanese team under Okada's leadership. Hopefully he got the monkey (and the media) off his back. Okada had been under a lot pressure from the Japanese press.

However the next two teams that the Samurai blue have to face are going to be tough matches. I hope Okada can pull a few more rabbits out of his hat. I am keeping my fingers crossed. Go Samurai blue!!!

Useful vocabulary
hibernate ~ 冬眠する、冬ごもりする

amnesia ~ 記憶喪失、健忘(症)

eke out ~

monkey off one's back ~

pull a rabbit out of one's hat ~ 〔手品として〕帽子か らウサギを取り出す

keep one's fingers crossed ~ あなたに幸運が訪れるよう祈っていますよ。/うまくいくように祈っています.-- I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.

I don't know if I even have a chance, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.


Ugh. My least-favorite season has arrived. The sun has gone down, but it's still 27 degrees outside.
× It's so wetty!
× It's so wet! <- this is better, but still not so good
◯ It's so humid! <- this is OK, but it doesn't refer to the heat so strongly, I feel
◯ It's so muggy! <- this is best!
  • humid - 湿度の高い (definition from Eijiro)
  • muggy - 蒸し暑い (definition from Eijiro)
Your sweat doesn't evaporate, but instead makes your skin sticky. You have to be ready for rain at any moment. What's worse, once rainy season is over, the real heat and humidity arrive.
  • evaporate 蒸着 (definition from jmdict)
  • sticky 粘っこい, 粘い, べたべた (definition from jmdict)
  • what's worse さらに悪い[ひどい]ことに (definition from Eijiro)
  • humidity 湿り (definition from jmdict)
Someone I was talking to earlier today said she doesn't even have an air conditioner at home. She says they only use electric fans. Can you survive with only an electric fan?
  • electric fan 扇風機
  • survive 残存
I often think my body was designed for colder weather, but at any rate, here I am in Tokyo. I survived living in Taiwan and already four summers here, so I'll probably make it through this one alive.
  • make it through ~をうまくやり遂げる、~を何とかやっていく、うまく通り抜ける、何とか~を切り抜ける[乗り越える](definition from Eijiro)
I'm not particularly looking forward to it, though.

What advice do you have on how to deal with muggy Tokyo?


OMG! You work for A.S.S.? ROTFL!!!

Look at the first few entries under any letter in an English dictionary and you will find acronym after acronym. In our daily life we are bombarded with them too. Some are world famous, (e.g. IBM), some are easy to remember (e.g. ABC store,) and some stock symbols are even cute/clever (e.g. DNA--Genentech, which is a bio-tech company, AAPL--Apple Inc. )

Then there acronyms that should be avoided at all costs. Case in point is the name of this security company. I am sure Asahi must have some name value in the mind of the Japanese customer. Asahi Security Services is okay too. Problems arose when Asahi Security Services decided to make it into an acronym. Here are some definitions for ass in Japanese.

ass~ (名、俗) 尻、ロバ, 頑固な人, 最低のやつ、ばか, 不快なもの、ひどい結果、

Here are some other commonly used acronyms.
Can you guess their meanings?



I wrote about throwing things out back in April:
A couple of weeks ago, I was throwing more things out late at night. When I went to the garbage collection area in the basement, I found this guitar lying among some broken umbrellas and a disassembled set of shelves.
  • disassemble 分解{ぶんかい}する、バラバラにする (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
× There seems to be nothing wrong with it, without the less-than-attractive green stain it has.
◯ There seems to be nothing wrong with it, [other than/except for/besides] the less-than-attractive green stain it has.
Use "without" when you want to say that something that usually is included is missing. When you mean 以外, use "other than", "except for", or "besides".
  • without ならでは, 無し, なし, 亡しで, なしで, 亡しに, なしに (definition from jmdict)
  • except 除いて, ならでは, 措いて (definition from jmdict)
  • 以外 with the exception of, excepting, except for (definition from jmdict)
I don't really play guitar these days, so I'm not sure what to do with it.
× I could easily live except for it.
◯ I could easily live without it.
I'm trying to get rid of things, but as a musician, I just couldn't leave a perfectly good instrument sitting in the trash.  Maybe I should give it away.


used to と be/get used to の違いは何ですか

Today in class we did a review of 'used to do' and 'be used to doing.' They are very similar in form but very different in meaning and usage. Let's do a quick review on it again.

I used to (verb) means I did it regularly in the past but no longer do it. For example,
I used to live in San Francisco (that's before but now I live in another place)
I used to play basketball with my friends on the weekends but I don't do so anymore. (I played basketball before but I no longer play basketball)
There used to be a Sunkus in my neighborhood but it closed down. It is now a gift shop.

There might be things that you didn't do before but do now. In that case, use 'didn't use to'
I didn't use to use a PC everyday but nowadays I carry one with me everywhere. (I use a PC everyday now but it wasn't so before)
I didn't use to eat fish and vegetables often but I do so everyday now.
There didn't use to be condominium complexes in my neighborhood but now there are too many of them.

I'm used to something means it is not strange or new for me.
After be/get used to we have to v~ing or a noun. For example,
When I went to Thailand I wasn't used to the humidity. (be used to [noun])
When I went to Thailand I wasn't used to eating the spicy food. (be used to v~ing)

Note that being/getting used to something takes time. It doesn't happen overnight.
Shortly after I arrived in Japan, I wasn't used to driving on the left. It was very strange for me. (0% familiarity)
After a lot of practice driving on the left became less strange. I got used to driving on the left.
Now it is no problem at all. I am used to driving on the left. (100% familiarity)
If I go back to the U.S. I will have to get used to driving on the right again. (future tense of be/get used to v~ing)

How would you answer the following questions:
When you first started working, what weren't you used to doing?
What food did you used to eat that you don't eat anymore?
What would you have to get used to if you moved to South Africa tomorrow?


メッシ! メッシ! メッシ!

There are superstars and then there are (the superstars of) SUPERSTARS. Professional athletes have long wowed fans and spectators with their awesome skills. From Babe Ruth to Mohammed Ali to Pele to Michael Jordan, a long list of superstars played on a level that inspired awe. Add Lionel Messi to that list of Superstars. Don't you know him? If you don't, I am sure he will soon be a household name during the upcoming World Cup event much like David Beckham was when Japan hosted the World Cup in 2002. Messi, an Argentinian, plays for FC Barcelona.

Last month, in a quarterfinal Champions League match against a strong Arsenal team, Messi single-handedly beat the team. He scored not once, not twice, not even thrice, but four times. This young man is head and shoulders above the rest. He is in a class of his own.

Check out the youtube link of the game. The commentary is in English. How much of it can you catch?

Useful vocabulary
awesome~ 畏敬[畏怖{いふ}]の念を抱か せる[起こさせる]、荘厳な,
awe~ 畏敬(の念)、畏怖
a household name~ どこの家庭{かてい}でも通じる名前{なまえ}、 誰でもよく知っている名前{なまえ}、おなじみの名前{な まえ}、有名人{ゆうめいじん}
*She immediately became a household name when she won the gold medal. :
single-handedly~ 人の手を借りずに、独力で、単独で、自力
thrice~ 三度、3倍に、3回、3重に
be head and shoulders above~ 〔身長を比較し て〕頭と肩の分だけ~より高い
*X is head and shoulders above its competitors in the personal computer market. :
in a class of one's own~ 《be ~》別格{べっかく}だ、比類{ひるい}が ない、断然優秀{だんぜん ゆうしゅう}だ、際立っている、ずば抜けている



I realized that "celery" isn't so hard for Japanese to pronounce correctly. That's because it doesn't have an "si" or an "sy" sound in it. A lot of people change that to the Japanese-friendly 「し」 sound. You should review the post I did the other day:
However, I do have a good example for you about why you need to be careful. Someone I know was telling me about her customers. She was saying that they don't respect her as a professional sometimes, such as when it comes to their own children. They always want her to look after their children when they are at her workplace.
× "They think of me as their shitter."
◯ "They think of me as their sitter."
shitter〈卑〉トイレ、便所{べんじょ}、下痢{げり}〈卑〉う そつき (definitions from Eijiro on the Web)
sitter 付き添い人、看護人{かんごにん}、ベビーシッター (definitions from Eijiro on the Web)
Fortunately, the truth wasn't as bad as it sounded, even though it's not so good. Imagine if you told an employment agency you were looking for a shitter.
  • employment agency 人材紹介会社 (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
× There are many shimilar words.
◯ There are many similar words.
I hope you all find looking at hydrangeas...
× ...as relackshing as I do.
◯ ...as relaxing as I do. <- pronounce it like ree-LACK-sing, with "sing" like "sing a song"
  • hydrangea 紫陽花